Depression impacts over 17 million people in the United States alone and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects so many people, yet effective treatment options remain slim. One of the reasons why finding an effective treatment is hard is the fact that each case is unique. You will agree that developing 17 million treatments is certainly not possible. With those we have these days, it is possible to cure the highest chunk of the conditions out there, but some of them are still outside the reach.
Of course, psychotherapy that addresses causes and coping mechanisms is considered a standard treatment that should be coupled with any other form; however, not all forms of depression can be resolved this way, and many people with depression need symptom relief to continue daily functioning. Two-thirds of patients do not experience significant symptom relief from the first antidepressant they try. Beyond that, every subsequent medication is less likely to be effective than the last.
Sometimes, the patients can become resistant to the medication they use, and things get much more complicated from that point. Not to mention that there is a possibility that depression is caused by some actions in real life, nothing psychological. Nevertheless, people tend to look for medications. As you will certainly agree, tending to these situations this way is not needed. Still, there is no real way to determine the cause, besides the good old conversation. Since people are usually not honest when talking about their problems, this can be quite hard to determine.
TMSBrainHealth specializes in alternative therapy options for cases of depression that are resistant to other forms of treatment like SSRIs. They’ve shared with us their incredible success with TMS and ketamine therapy. And they aren’t the only ones. These therapies are being practiced safely and effectively throughout the US. Several studies regarding the efficacy have been quite promising. For that reason, we would like to provide you with an insight into both of these methods. That way, you can see what can be expected from each of them.
What is TMS?
TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, refers to the process of transmitting magnetic pulses onto the scalp to activate neurons in specified areas of the brain. In treating depression, the stimulation will target under-active areas of the brain that are known to play a role in depression, to attempt to alter the neural activity in these areas. As you can presume, the changes in these activities are the ways to disrupt the situation that causes these problems. That way, it is possible to set things to the way they were before the condition has started developing.
There are different kinds of TMS, but most clinics largely focus on Express TMS or theta-burst stimulation. With Express TMS, the magnetic pulse is administered at frequencies that mimic brain waves to promote neuroplasticity. This type of TMS only takes a few minutes to administer, whereas other TMS options can take 30 minutes or more. Hence the name, Express TMS.
While altering neural activity may sound intense, TMS is an extremely safe non-invasive process and has been used since 1985 for a variety of applications. As a depression treatment, it has fewer risks and side effects than almost all other treatment options. The main risk with TMS is a risk of seizure, but this is extremely rare, and TMS is not administered to individuals with a predisposed risk of seizure or metal implants.
It needs to be said that having a consultation with the doctor is an absolute must. Using these medications on your own carries a high risk with it. Thankfully, the therapy is widespread and pretty much all the experienced therapists out there know about it, and just how efficient it can be. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to talk with your doctor about all the problems you face every day, and this might be the thing that can help you with this problem.
Common reported side effects include a mild sensitivity or tapping on the scalp during treatment, lightheadedness, or a mild headache, all of which subside shortly after the treatment session. TMS is clinically proved to be an effective treatment for depression, and with impressive results: over 60% of patients see significant symptom relief, and almost 40% experienced complete remission. Additionally, a large percentage of patients continue to experience relief for weeks or months after ending treatment.
What is ketamine treatment?
Ketamine has a long history of use in the medical field since its discovery in 1956. It was originally used as an anesthetic for soldiers and is still used in hospitals today for patients with severe injuries or sensitivities to other types of anesthesia. Even though this method is present in this branch of medicine, we can see that there are new features that have been discovered in the last couple of years, through conducting numerous medical researches and studies.
As a depression treatment, it is administered at a clinic in very low doses multiple times a week for 2-3 weeks. It is extremely safe, and similarly to TMS, it offers impressive results for most patients. For 60% of patients, symptom relief begins within 5 hours after the first dose, and many patients continue to experience symptom relief for months after the end of the treatment. Occasional additional dosing can be scheduled after the treatment session is over.
The side effects of ketamine treatment are minimal; most patients report a floating sensation or dizziness during treatment or feeling tired in the hours following treatment. For that reason, it is not avoidable to take it during work hours, especially if your work position requires your focus to be on the highest possible level. If you are not careful, some really uncomfortable situations can arise, for obvious reasons.
While every individual will respond differently to any given treatment, TMS and ketamine are promising treatment alternatives for depression that require less dependency and give more reliability for symptom relief. So, it is important to know that the doctors always have a chance to provide you with an alternative, especially if the therapy you have now is simply not efficient enough.
These days, the number of people who have experienced some sort of depression can be easily described as a pandemic. Millions of individuals from every corner of the world were under a lockdown caused by the global pandemic of COVID-19. So, it is not a surprise that so many of them struggle with these problems.
In this article of ours, you can take a look at two efficient alternative therapies that can provide help in crucial moments. We are certain that learning more about them would give patients new hope, and therapists, who are not aware of their existences, an additional option to cure the hardest cases.